FREEPORT, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A Long Island man was lucky in more ways than one, as he got a chance Wednesday to thank his teammates for saving his life after a heart attack on the ice.
As CBS 2’s Kathryn Brown reported exclusively, the biggest cheers in the Freeport Rec Center Wednesday came for the only man not wearing ice skates, when Joe Tymeck walked in with his wife, Janet, to thank the men who saved his life.
Tymeck was lucky to be alive, and even luckier that he stumbled on this rec league years ago…
“Every Wednesday, we play,” said New York City firefighter Ronald Cassar.
But one week ago — the day before Thanksgiving — Tymeck almost didn’t make it home. He collapsed on the bench just after coming off the ice.
His teammates rushed to his aid, and fortunately for Tymeck — a retired Wall Streeter — most of those teammates are FDNY firefighters.
“I think for everybody, it’s like second nature,” said firefighter Bobby Armstrong.
“All the guys grabbed Joe, grabbed him off the bench, ripped off all his gear and started giving him CPR,” said firefighter Vinnie Vaccaro.
Taj Penaso was one of the first to reach Tymeck, who no longer had a pulse. He immediately began CPR — literally breathing life back into his teammate.
“It definitely does make it a little bit more intense, but you can’t think about that, really,” Penaso said.
On top of all their other efforts the guys credit an emergency defibrillator for saving Tymeck’s life. They said without the piece of equipment right next to the rink he would not be here today.
“It’s a shock that they did everything right, and I had them to thank for being here right now,” Tymeck said.
Tymeck’s doctor called said he suffered a classic heart attack, with no pain and no warning signs.
And the doctor said without the quick action of Tymeck’s teammates, he would have died within minutes.
“These guys are mostly in the Rockaways. They’ve been through devastation the last few weeks, and I’m just glad they had one more miracle left for me,” Tymeck said.
Tymeck said he hopes to get back on the ice as soon as his doctor gives him permission.
What would you say to Tymeck’s teammates? Please leave your comments below…